Advertising
Advertising

20 Quick and Easy Dinners You Can Cook With 20 Minutes

20 Quick and Easy Dinners You Can Cook With 20 Minutes

After long days at work or ferrying kids to and from play dates, activities and school, I seldom have the time or the energy to figure out dinner. I enjoy cooking for the family but with a never-ending to-do list, the last thing you want to be faced with is: “What’s for dinner?”

I often feel that I need an extra day to get through the week. However, when my daughter was born, I started doing weekly meal plans and it has helped me immensely to put healthy meals on the table — even on days when I was sleep deprived and exhausted. I shop accordingly and it takes the guesswork out of preparing weeknight dinners. I often do part of the preparation on weekends, such as chopping vegetables or making sauces which can be frozen or roasting a whole chicken to use through the week.

So, here are 20 of my favorite speedy, easy, delicious, healthy and child-friendly dinner recipes that I keep handy when planning meals:

1. White Chicken Chilli Soup

Delicious-White-Chicken-Chili-Recipe-on-lilluna.com-chili-soup

    With the weather turning colder, a steaming hot bowl of soup is just the comfort I need after a long, crazy day. Children  enjoy it, though you might want to leave out the green chilies if your family doesn’t like the heat. And what’s more, it’s a one pot recipe which means less washing up! That ticks all the boxes for me.

    2. Veggie Polenta Mini Pizza

    polenta-pizza-420

      This is even quicker if you have pre-made pesto at home. Add toppings of your choice and enjoy a healthy pizza dinner.

      3. 10 Minute Black Bean & Corn Quesadillas

      black bean and corn quessadillas

        I use whole wheat or corn tortillas for quesadillas. Then, I make the filling on a weekend and freeze batches for later use. You can substitute black beans for your preferred protein and add other veggies too. (Red pepper also works well.)

        Advertising

        4. Easy Chicken and Couscous Skillet Dinner

        Easy-Chicken-and-Cous-Cous-Skillet-Dinner-00

          Couscous cooks quickly so it is a favorite staple of mine for weeknight meals. This recipe uses jumbo or Israeli couscous and rotisserie chicken. Or, you could simply use the leftovers from your Sunday roast.

          5. Tomato, Spinach & Feta Frittata

          tomatofritatta2

            This popular family breakfast or brunch makes a fantastic weeknight dinner option. The thought of salty feta and sweet, juicy tomatoes with the garlicky spinach makes my mouth water. And using a cast iron skillet means it’s a one-pan dish!

            6. Prawn And Spinach Spaghetti

            prawn and spinach spaghetti

              I love this recipe as I have most of these ingredients at home so it’s really handy towards the end of the week when my fridge is almost empty. I use whole-wheat spaghetti and frozen prawns in my version. And if I’ve run out of spinach I just substitute with fresh basil.

              7. Tuna and White Bean Pita

              white bean and tuna pitas

                This super low effort recipe is unbelievably easy. My 4-year-old can make this meal. It is a wholesome and tasty store cupboard recipe that your kids will savor. It involves no cooking, just opening a few cans and assembling your meal.

                8. Salmon Skewers with Cucumber Yogurt Sauce

                Advertising

                salmon_kebabs_07

                  Salmon and cucumber are a classic combination. This recipe can be served with any grain of your choice or a simple salad that you whip up while the salmon is cooking. You can also add some veggies to the skewers.

                  9. Singapore Fried Rice

                  singapore fried rice

                    I love Asian food and this quick fried rice has become a staple in my house because it’s a meal by itself. I usually have cooked leftover rice in the fridge so this is really a quick meal. You do need day old cold rice for it; otherwise, it’ll become soggy and sticky. You can also add leftover chicken or even bacon. Enjoy!

                    10. Super Quick Fish Curry

                    fish curry brown rice

                      Fish is my favorite for quick meals as it’s healthy and takes very little time to cook. I always have a jar of Thai curry paste and coconut milk lying around in my cupboard, so this is a no-brainer, really. You can substitute fish with a protein of your choice. The coconut milk makes it mildly spicy but adds less paste if you want it milder.

                      11. Shells & Cheese (with Bacon & Peas)

                      bacon and peas

                        Children relish Mac and cheese. But on a school night, who has the time to make a batch from scratch? Here is a cheat’s version — no roux, no baking, just pasta in cheese sauce. I add garlic to mine and use low-fat milk and skip the butter. Also, I use whatever cheese I have on hand and whole-wheat pasta — but go ahead and indulge if you like.

                        12. Vegan Sweet Pepper and Mushroom Soba Noodle Stir Fry

                        vegan-sweet-pepper-mushroom-soba-noodle-stir-fry-close

                          I like to have a vegetarian dinner at least twice a week but feel free to add meat of your choice to it. You can use any vegetables you have for this recipe. In fact, it’s a great way to use up vegetables at the end of the week. Leave out the Sambal Olek (spicy chili sauce) if you don’t like spice.

                          Advertising

                          13. Simple Yet Scrumptious Rice And Salmon Pilaf

                          salmon-rice-pilaf

                            I use brown basmati for this recipe and cook it by the absorption method. Many people find cooking rice difficult, but it’s not tough. Remember different varieties of rice need different amounts of water to cook.  For instance, brown rice needs more water than white rice. Use measuring cups and with a little practice you’ll be an expert soon.

                            14. 15 Minute Lasagna

                            20 mins meals1

                              Yes indeed! 15 minutes only. With a few clever shortcuts and all in one pan, dinner is served. Isn’t that just perfect?

                              15. Chicken Caesar Salad Wraps

                              chicken_caesar_salad_wraps

                                I love tortilla wraps because they are so versatile. I use wholemeal tortillas to make these light yet filling wraps. My child loves these for lunch or dinner so this is my “go-to” recipe — especially when we have roast chicken leftovers.

                                16. Arugula Lentil Salad from Heaven (Vegan)

                                arugula-lentil-salad

                                  I love peppery Arugula (rocket). This healthy recipe combines lentils, nuts and rocket in a delightful salad. Add raisins or sultanas if you wish.

                                  17. 20-Minute Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Soup

                                  Advertising

                                  20-Minute-Cheesy-Chicken-Enchilada-Soup-6

                                    Nothing beats a warm, creamy, spicy soup on a chilly evening. You can use a ready-made enchilada sauce for this recipe, but I recommend you make one on the weekend and have it ready in the fridge when you fancy some soup. The key to quick meals on weeknights is in planning meals and some simple prep. It really doesn’t require much time on the weekend as cooking and freezing full meals, but will make your life much easier.

                                    18. One-Pan Veggie Fajita Pasta

                                    fajita pasta

                                      We adore fajitas and as I set about making some one evening, I realized the tortillas had gone stale. I had everything prepped already and a quick online search landed me this delightful recipe with pasta instead. Saved by google again! Since then it’s part of our family meals. I use whole-wheat pasta. It’s seriously yummy!

                                      19. Easy 20-Minute Teriyaki Chicken and Broccoli

                                      teriyaki-chicken-broccoli-tablefortwoblog-5

                                        This is a yummy teriyaki sauce recipe. This is a winning combination but by all means feel free to swap the chicken for other protein of your choice and broccoli with your favorite vegetable. Serve it with brown and wild rice or red rice or a combination of the three for a wholesome meal.

                                        20. Sweet Potato Kale and Quinoa Fritters

                                        Kale-Sweetpotatoe-and-Quinoa-Fritters_platter-ready-to-eat1

                                          Loaded with the goodness of kale, quinoa and sweet potato, this recipe is a great way to sneak these super foods into your little ones. Serve with a simple green salad for dinner.

                                          Featured photo credit: Viktor Hanasek via picjumbo.com

                                          More by this author

                                          15 Inspiring Quotes From The Harry Potter Series 10 Unbelievably Delicious Sugarless Treats http://albumarium.com/media/W1siZiIsIjUzYTE3NDY4NzY3MDczMjc4MmZmMDEwMCJdXQ?sha=60333068 20 Delicious And Healthy Veggie Balls Recipes 20 Quick and Easy Dinners You Can Cook With 20 Minutes Interesting Facts About Chocolate In 11 Diagrams

                                          Trending in Food and Drink

                                          1 These 25 Healthy Meal Ideas Can Be Ready in 30 Minutes or Less 2 17 Weight Loss Recipes That Are Incredibly Nutritious and Super Delicious 3 15 Flavorful and Healthy Family Meals That are Perfect for Picky Eaters 4 15 Most Effective and Nutritious Healthy Foods to Lose Weight 5 Stock up on These 9 Healthy Snack Foods to Boost Your Brainpower

                                          Read Next

                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising
                                          Advertising

                                          Last Updated on February 21, 2019

                                          12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

                                          12 Best Brain Foods That Improve Memory and Boost Brain Power

                                          Nutrition plays a vital role in brain function and staying sharp into the golden years. Personally, my husband is going through medical school, which is like a daily mental marathon. Like any good wife, I am always looking for things that will boost his memory fortitude so he does his best in school.

                                          But you don’t have to be a med student to appreciate better brainiac brilliance. If you combine certain foods with good hydration, proper sleep and exercise, you may just rival Einstein and have a great memory in no time.

                                          I’m going to reveal the list of foods coming out of the kitchen that can improve your memory and make you smarter.

                                          Here are 12 best brain foods that improve memory:

                                          1. Nuts

                                          The American Journal of Epidemiology published a study linking higher intakes of vitamin E with the prevention on cognitive decline.[1]

                                          Nuts like walnuts and almonds (along with other great foods like avocados) are a great source of vitamin E.

                                          Cashews and sunflower seeds also contain an amino acid that reduces stress by boosting serotonin levels.

                                          Walnuts even resemble the brain, just in case you forget the correlation, and are a great source of omega 3 fatty acids, which also improve your mental magnitude.

                                          Advertising

                                          2. Blueberries

                                          Shown in studies at Tuffs University to benefit both short-term memory and coordination, blueberries pack quite a punch in a tiny blue package.[2]

                                          When compared to other fruits and veggies, blueberries were found to have the highest amount of antioxidants (especially flavonoids), but strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are also full of brain benefits.

                                          3. Tomatoes

                                          Tomatoes are packed full of the antioxidant lycopene, which has shown to help protect against free-radical damage most notably seen in dementia patients.

                                          4. Broccoli

                                          While all green veggies are important and rich in antioxidants and vitamin C, broccoli is a superfood even among these healthy choices.

                                          Since your brain uses so much fuel (it’s only 3% of your body weight but uses up to 17% of your energy), it is more vulnerable to free-radical damage and antioxidants help eliminate this threat.

                                          Broccoli is packed full of antioxidants, is well-known as a powerful cancer fighter and is also full of vitamin K, which is known to enhance cognitive function.

                                          5. Foods Rich in Essential Fatty Acids

                                          Your brain is the fattest organ (not counting the skin) in the human body, and is composed of 60% fat. That means that your brain needs essential fatty acids like DHA and EPA to repair and build up synapses associated with memory.

                                          The body does not naturally produce essential fatty acids so we must get them in our diet.

                                          Advertising

                                          Eggs, flax, and oily fish like salmon, sardines, mackerel and herring are great natural sources of these powerful fatty acids. Eggs also contain choline, which is a necessary building block for the neurotransmitter acetylcholine, to help you recall information and concentrate.

                                          6. Soy

                                          Soy, along with many other whole foods mentioned here, are full of proteins that trigger neurotransmitters associated with memory.

                                          Soy protein isolate is a concentrated form of the protein that can be found in powder, liquid, or supplement form.

                                          Soy is valuable for improving memory and mental flexibility, so pour soy milk over your cereal and enjoy the benefits.

                                          7. Dark chocolate

                                          When it comes to chocolate, the darker the better. Try to aim for at least 70% cocoa. This yummy desert is rich in flavanol antioxidants which increase blood flow to the brain and shield brain cells from aging.

                                          Take a look at this article if you want to know more benefits of dark chocolate:

                                          15 Surprising and Science-Backed Health Effects of Dark Chocolate

                                          8. Foods Rich in Vitamins: B vitamins, Folic Acid, Iron

                                          Some great foods to obtain brain-boosting B vitamins, folic acid and iron are kale, chard, spinach and other dark leafy greens.

                                          Advertising

                                          B6, B12 and folic acid can reduce levels of homocysteine in the blood. Homocysteine increases are found in patients with cognitive impairment like Alzheimer’s, and high risk of stroke.

                                          Studies showed when a group of elderly patients with mild cognitive impairment were given high doses of B6, B12, and folic acid, there was significant reduction in brain shrinkage compared to a similar placebo group.[3]

                                          Other sources of B vitamins are liver, eggs, soybeans, lentils and green beans. Iron also helps accelerate brain function by carrying oxygen. If your brain doesn’t get enough oxygen, it can slow down and people can experience difficulty concentrating, diminished intellect, and a shorter attention span.

                                          To get more iron in your diet, eat lean meats, beans, and iron-fortified cereals. Vitamin C helps in iron absorption, so don’t forget the fruits!

                                          9. Foods Rich in Zinc

                                          Zinc has constantly demonstrated its importance as a powerful nutrient in memory building and thinking. This mineral regulates communications between neurons and the hippocampus.

                                          Zinc is deposited within nerve cells, with the highest concentrations found in the hippocampus, the part of the brain responsible for higher learning function and memory.

                                          Some great sources of zinc are pumpkin seeds, liver, nuts, and peas.

                                          10. Gingko biloba

                                          This herb has been utilized for centuries in eastern culture and is best known for its memory boosting brawn.

                                          Advertising

                                          It can increase blood flow in the brain by dilating vessels, increasing oxygen supply and removing free radicals.

                                          However, don’t expect results overnight: this may take a few weeks to build up in your system before you see improvements.

                                          11. Green and black tea

                                          Studies have shown that both green and black tea prevent the breakdown of acetylcholine—a key chemical involved in memory and lacking in Alzheimer’s patients.

                                          Both teas appear to have the same affect on Alzheimer’s disease as many drugs utilized to combat the illness, but green tea wins out as its affects last a full week versus black tea which only lasts the day.

                                          Find out more about green tea here:

                                          11 Health Benefits of Green Tea (+ How to Drink It for Maximum Benefits)

                                          12. Sage and Rosemary

                                          Both of these powerful herbs have been shown to increase memory and mental clarity, and alleviate mental fatigue in studies.

                                          Try to enjoy these savory herbs in your favorite dishes.

                                          When it comes to mental magnitude, eating smart can really make you smarter. Try to implement more of these readily available nutrients and see just how brainy you can be!

                                          More Resources About Boosting Brain Power

                                          Featured photo credit: Pexels via pexels.com

                                          Reference

                                          Read Next